The chief information officer of the previous Labour government has slammed the regime for creating huge IT projects simply to make policies "sound sexy".
Ian Watmore, now chief operating officer of the coalition government's Efficiency and Reform Group, made the assessment while giving evidence to the Good Governance: the Effective Use of IT public select committee.
"People think that they need to have a piece of technology to make their policy or their project sound sexy, so you either have technology not thought about or technology thought about in the wrong way right at the beginning," he said.
Watmore added that when IT projects fail it is down to the policies and implementation from the start, rather than because the IT contracts were poorly thought out.
"There are hundreds of projects that work every year that you never hear about, but when we have the so-called disasters they translate back to over-ambitious projects where policy was not as thought through as it might have been," he said.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude also attended the hearing, and said that the government's new ICT strategy is trying to change the culture within Whitehall to reduce spending and improve access for SMEs.
"[The government] tends to be rather risk averse in how we procure and takes the view that safety lies in big projects with very big suppliers," he said.
"This will change. No project should have a life time value over £100m and we're setting up Dragons Den-style events where small and innovative suppliers are able to come and pitch to government."
Watmore added that the government's new strategy will help SMEs bring their skills and agility to the government.
"We want to open up the market by having smaller, more deliverable procurements to enable [SMEs] to show what they can do and grow from there," he said.
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